THE Minister for Public Service, Home Affairs, Labour and Gender Affairs of Saint Lucia, the Honourable Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte, recently met with Cuso International volunteer, Mrs. Christi Howes, a communications and engagement advisor attached to the Blueprints for Gender Equality project.
This is a four-year project, funded by Global Affairs Canada and implemented by Cuso International. It is supporting capacity development and the implementation of Saint Lucia’s National Gender Focal Points System, which was established to mainstream gender in all aspects of Saint Lucia’s national sustainable development.
Mrs. Howes is attached to the Department of Gender Affairs for the next ten months to assist with the execution of the Blueprints project, which aims to strengthen the capacity of public institutions in addressing gender equality issues faced by women, girls and marginalized groups across four Eastern Caribbean countries: Saint Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
In addition to Mrs. Howes’ communications assistance, Cuso International gender experts will be joining the project and working alongside the four Eastern Caribbean government partners to better integrate gender equality and social inclusion in policies, programmes and services. Expected outcomes include increased access to programmes and services that provide income generation, prevent gender-based violence and strengthen access to supports for women, girls and marginalized groups.
Hon. Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte welcomed Mrs. Howes to the team and urged her to work with the Department of Gender Affairs, the Gender Focal Points and Civil Society to ensure all the excellent work being done behind the scenes for gender equality is shared publicly and finds it rightful place in the national spotlight. According to Hon. Dr. Poyotte, “The Government of Saint Lucia has demonstrated its commitment to advancing gender equality by increasing the budgetary allocation to the Department of Gender Affairs in this year’s national budget. Mrs. Howes’ inclusion on the Department’s team will help boost public awareness of the ongoing processes and successes of the Government of Saint Lucia in creating a more equitable, fair and safe society for us all.”
Cuso International is a non-profit, Canadian international development organization that connects communities around the world with skilled Canadians to help end poverty and inequality. “I am so excited to be here,” said Mrs. Howes. “Volunteering with Cuso International on the Blueprints project is a fabulous opportunity to contribute to a project focussed on empowering marginalized, vulnerable people and combat inequality in a real and lasting way.”